Unbreakable Episode 4
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The journey to Accra was unrelenting.
Maya slept half the time and was totally exhausted when they finally arrived.
It was quite late but the city was bursting with people and activities.
She could see hawkers lining up the streets to sell their wares, vehicles packed haphazardly with people moving up and down and lots of people struggling to use what was left of the pavement for their various activities.
The blast of loud music and car horns assailed her ears.
The noise was deafening, something she was not quite accustomed to.
The vehicle pulled into the filthy station after what seemed like an eternity. She had experienced her first traffic jam that night.
Maya was the last to get down since she was in the back seat.
She stepped into the cold night and looked around.
She felt ravenously hungry but was scared to move anywhere.
There were too many cars and people around.
She feared she could disappear in the crowd or a car could knock her over if she moved.
She looked over to her left and saw a pastry stand.
Indeed she loved pastries especially meat pies.
She moved closer and stood in line for her turn.
She bought what she could eat and walked back to the station.
Maya sat on a bench and ate to her full.
Gradually, the number of people plying the station decreased and there was some quiet.
She stretched herself on the bench using her bag as a pillow and drifted off to sleep.
The movement of vehicles woke her up.
It was morning.
She looked for a public washroom and freshened up.
She set off in search of a Methodist Church.
By the time dusk set in and the fringes of darkness ushered in the approaching evening, she had been to about ten Methodist Churches already.
None was able to help her but Maya still hoped one day she would find Prince.
The story was the same everywhere she went.
On two occasions, there had been members of the church who had the Osei-Poku surname and she was asked to come by on Sunday to meet them.
She was thrilled and hoped that one of them would be Prince’s family.
Sunday finally came.
Maya got up early, freshened up and took “koko’ and ‘kose’ for breakfast and went by the church as arranged.
The Church service had taken longer than expected since it was loaded with birthday celebrations and send-off services.
Finally, Maya got to meet the Osei-Poku’s but was disappointed to find out they were not Prince’s family, and they did not know Prince’s family either.
It then dawned on her that there would be a million and one Methodist Churches in Accra alone, And it would take a lifetime to go to each one of them if she even had the means.
Slowly her finances were depleting and she needed a plan to survive quick.
That night as she lay on the bench at the lorry station, sleep deserted her.
She was really miserable and dreaded the future that was in store for her.
She could only see doom and helplessness. How was she going to survive like this? She needed a home at least for the baby. She had heard of the unthinkable things people who slept on the streets were exposed to.
In reality she was not sure how she was going to take care of herself and cater for her child.
She wondered what kind of work she could do to help earn enough to take care of her basic needs taking into consideration her educational background and her present condition.
Many questions went through her inexperienced mind as she lay deflated on the bench.
The more questions that popped up, the more helpless she felt.
Finally, Maya drifted off to sleep.
A tap on her tummy got her to open her eyes slowly.
She saw a figure in a hoodie leaning against the bench with a knife pointed at her ribs.
“Don’t make a sound or I’ll use this on you!” the stranger said.
Maya was petrified.
She felt dizzy all of a sudden. She had enough problems as it was.
“Please, don’t hurt me. I have a little money. Let me take it for you. Please!”
“Shut up, fool. I don’t need your money. I want you. Roll over to the floor towards me now!”
“No, please, no. I beg you. Please take the money and leave me alone, please.” Maya pleaded.
She was not ready to add rape to the list of problems she was enduring.
Tears coursed down her cheeks as fear gripped her.
“Shut up, would you? Roll over or …….”
“Leave her alone,” a voice from behind the stranger intoned.
The guy in the hoody turned around in a flash, thrusting the knife at the intruder.
“Come any closer and I will slice you into pieces. Walk away while you still can, imbecile!”
“I said to leave her alone, idiot. If you want to exercise your waist, go find someone who offers that service. Don’t come here and try to take it by force.”
The guy in the hoodie rushed on the intruder and just then a police patrol team’s siren blasted to signal their presence.
The siren was so close that the guy with the knife took to his heels.
Maya sat up shaken.
“Are you alright?” her helper asked.
“I think so. Thank you.”
“Look, this is no place for a girl. You better find a roof over your head and fast. That guy will keep coming back here every day until he gets what he wants. Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he stated and hurried off.
Maya sat up the rest of the night thinking.
She needed a plan or she would surely die of hunger or some deadly attack in no time.
On her rounds in search of Prince, she had come across a store that needed a sales girl.
She had stopped by to check it out but the owner was out.
She was asked to come back some other time.
Early in the morning, Maya freshened up quickly and set off for the location.
She got lost a couple of times but eventually she made it to the store and got the job.
The salary that came with it was nothing to write home about but it was better than nothing.
She was to start work the next morning but offered to help out that very day.
It was a supermarket in a developing residential area.
The environment looked tidier and quieter than where she had resided since her arrival in Accra.
When everything was packed for the close of business that day, Maya pretended she was waiting for someone until all the workers and owner left.
The security man saw her bag and enquired if she had somewhere to stay.
She was frank with him and he allowed her to sleep in the far corner in the front of the store shielded with tables and carton boxes.
For some reason, Maya slept like a baby that day.
The security guard woke her up and showed her the nearby public washroom and bath house early in the morning.
Maya freshened up quickly and returned to the supermarket.
She found some sweeping brooms around and tidied up the place before the owner came to open the store.
The kind woman was impressed with her initiative and commended her on it.
Maya felt a little at peace and knew she would do just fine in the meantime.
She, however, feared what would happen if the owner found out she was expecting.
Another thing that bothered her was her inability to attend antenatal clinics since she was going to work seven days a week and fourteen hours a day at the supermarket.
The owner mentioned an off day in a week during the interview but she was yet to see how it worked.
It had been two weeks already since she started work at the supermarket.
She was twelve weeks pregnant now but thankfully she didn’t have much to show for it.
There was no noticeable bulge in her tummy.
As she worked her bones off to eat and get a place to lay her head, Maya became the favourite of all the rich customers that came to the supermarket.
For one thing she was pleasant and very serviceable to all.
She gave her all without expecting anything in return.
One fine day, a nurse walked in and after she had finished with her purchases, Maya was detailed to take her items to her car.
She gave Maya a handsome tip and encouraged her to start attending the clinic since her life and that of her baby depended on it.
Maya was surprised she knew about her pregnancy because she could swear she had not told anyone.
The kind-hearted nurse took the opportunity to give Maya titbits on how to take care of herself and the baby to ensure she delivered a healthy baby and minimized her mortality risk too.
Nurse Araba gave her directions to the clinic she worked, which was not quite far from the supermarket and told her the antenatal clinics were held on Wednesdays.
Maya had misgivings about asking for days off to attend the antenatal clinics for fear she might lose her job.
Coincidentally, that weekend the Madam discussed the days off again and everyone was asked to give a specific day to take off.
Maya asked for Wednesdays and the Madam agreed without hesitation.
On her first day at the antenatal clinic, Maya became overwhelmed with worry as the talk for the day confused her even more.
She was not sure she was ready to become a mother especially at such a tender age.
She was positive she did not have what it took to be a good mother just yet.
Maya became more convinced that an abortion would solve half of her problems.
She could keep her job and try and make something out of her life without worrying about a baby she had no idea how to care for.
She could even go back home and lie that she lost the baby and everything would be back to normal. And she had missed home so much.
Even though her Uncle’s wife was not too fond of her, she still preferred home to where she was right now.
She mastered courage and approached Nurse Araba.
After listening to Maya’s story, Nurse Araba was touched and felt very sorry for her.
However, she did not think abortion was the answer.
She told Maya that abortions, even if done by experts and under hygienic conditions, could still have dire and terrible lifetime consequences.
She was able to convince Maya to keep the baby and if she did not want to take care of it, she could arrange for him or her to be adopted by couples who needed babies badly.
Maya continued to work at the supermarket until she was seven months pregnant.
That was when Madam Kokor found out about her condition.
However, because of her hard work and the fact that most customers liked her, the Madam was ready to forgive her for keeping it a secret.
Madam Korkor, the supermarket owner, let her stay until she delivered but told her she could not afford to keep her because of maternity leave and other related complications.
Maya found herself homeless once again and begged Nurse Araba to let her stay in the hospital and sleep in the out-patient’s after close of day since she had nowhere to go.
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To Be Continued…
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